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Children can achieve well in school and life when they feel supported and family, friends, teachers, school staff take an active interest in their wellbeing. Simple actions can sometimes have large payoffs; a consistent hello, a call home to praise a student’s performance on a project, the connection of a student to needed services, and making time to listen. All these seemingly minor interactions add up to a sense of belonging and safety in school. All adults working with our children and youth can think about each interaction they have with students as a stepping stone towards success. If you would like to tell us about your school's experience using any of these elements or strategies, click on the Your Story button!
Strong visionary leadership is necessary to improve outcomes for students. Successful school leaders work with community members to create a strategic vision for graduating students and then focus policies and supports to create a plan targeted to ensuring all students have what they need to achieve that vision. Leaders in the schools, districts, tribes, and communities can foster a safe and nurturing climate conducive to learning. Leaders at all levels can ensure that students have the relationships, engagement and supports necessary to succeed. It is important to grow leadership capacity across the state to support this critical work.
High quality pre-kindergarten and early-grade instruction have a clear and measurable impact early and late in a student’s academic career. We know that young students who get a good start in kindergarten and the early grades have lower rates of involvement with the justice system and higher rates of high school graduation. Families and communities have a critical role in supporting growth in these early years. Schools and the Early Learning Division are working to create and foster partnerships that bridge the gap between early learning and the first years of school. Visit Oregon’s Brain Building Website to see some innovative programs.
At the core of inclusive schools is the belief that each student can and will learn and succeed. A belief and acknowledgement that each student has strengths and needs - and that collaboratively, school communities can succeed - is a necessary foundation for an inclusive school culture. The inclusive school environment requires a thoughtful and informed look at disciplinary practices within schools and an understanding of potential bias. Exclusionary practices related to discipline, such as suspension and expulsion, result in increased feelings of anger, resentment, distrust and isolation. Culturally responsive positive behavioral interventions and restorative practices produce a more cooperative and productive learning environment.
Health and education are connected: what affects one affects the other. The healthy child learns better, just as the educated child leads a healthier life. Similarly, a healthier environment - physical and social-emotional - provides for more effective teaching and learning. Whole Child Education is a shift in focus from narrowly defined academic achievement to a focus on the long-term development and success of all children. The basic tenets of the approach to education are that each student: learns and practices healthy lifestyle, learns in a physically and emotionally safe environment, is challenged academically, is engaged and connected to school and the broader community, and is supported by caring adults.
The Oregon State Library has compiled the studies presented in each of the strategy papers in a special page on their website.
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